Q and A: Carpet Film Removal

While adhesive plastic carpet protection was a great new product for the construction industry many years ago, the products have changed and been improved.  Unfortunately the older adhesive formulas had the possibility of transferring residue if conditions were not perfect.  The most common question we are asked is, without a doubt, “How do I remove adhesive residue from Carpet Film or prevent if from happening as I once used it and had a problem?”. Adhesive carpet films are a great low-cost temporary carpet protection, but they can leave adhesive residue if the manufacturer’s instructions are not strictly followed or based on the type of adhesive used to manufacture the product. To reduce the risk of adhesive transfer, try the following tips:

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s directions. If a Carpet Film manufacturer states that the film should not be left on for more than thirty days, do not leave it on for sixty.
  • Use films made in the USA. These films are higher quality and have better warranty protection than films made overseas.
  • Always test Carpet Film on a small area first. It’s important to check for any negative impacts the adhesive may have on the carpet on a test area before it is applied to the entire carpet. This will catch most adhesive transfer issues BEFORE they happen.
  •  Choose a water-based film. Water-based adhesives are much easier to  remove from carpeting, so if you have the option to choose one, go with the water-based Carpet Film.  More adhesive issues occur when using solvent based films!
  • Never install adhesive carpet protection on damp carpet.
  • Never install adhesive carpet protection on newly installed glue-down carpeting. Allow 72 hours for the carpet to breathe and offgass before applying adhesive protection.
  • If its hot, shorten the application time by half. If its extremely hot out and a Carpet Film is recommended for thirty day use, cut it to fifteen days to stay on the safe side.
  • NEVER apply adhesive Carpet Film to wool carpets. This invalidates the carpet manufacturer’s warranty and may ultimately cost a builder thousands in replacement costs.

Of course, adhesive transfer may happen from unforseeable circumstances such as intense heat, heavy traffic, or if the film was just left down for too long.  Following is a description of what to do in case an issue arises:

  • If a water-based adhesive Carpet Film was used, simply rent a steam cleaner and steam carpets. The water-based adhesive can be removed by warm water.
  • If you used solvent-based Carpet Film, it is a little trickier to remove the adhesive. Visit your local hardware store and pick up a citrus-based cleaner. This will make the removal process a little less labor-intensive.
  • If the carpet is discolored, unfortunately there is no cure. The affected area must be removed and replaced. This is why it is so important to make sure there is no moisture from the slab or offgassing glue before applying adhesive Carpet Film.
So there it is! The Surface Protection Experts’ recommendations for removing adhesive residue from Carpet Films. If you follow the manufacturer’s directions and make sure to use high-quality USA-made products, you should not encounter these problems. If you are a builder who has dealt with adhesive transfer in another way or who has questions/recommendations, let us know in the comments!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.